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Column 183states including the United Kingdom but Denmark and Belgium asked for a little more time to reach a final decision.
The Council discussed a proposal to amend the existing regulation on outward processing trade--OPT--in textiles. The subject was referred for further work by experts, pending discussion at the July FAC. A number of delegations, including the United Kingdom, called for the Commission to make a separate proposal establishing duty exemption for OPT conducted with the countries of central and eastern Europe. The Council appoved the imposition of a definitive anti-dumping duty on large aluminium electrolytic capacitors from South Korea and Taiwan. The United Kingdom made a statement opposing this proposal, expressing doubts about the injury case and concern for the effects of such high duties on users.
The Council agreed on a mandate for the Community to participate in negotiations on a convention to combat desertification, recommended by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.
A co-operation council with Israel was held in the margins, attended by Mr. Shimon Peres, the Israeli Foreign Minister. Because of shortage of time, the presidency deleted from the agenda the items dealing with aid to banana growers in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, shipbuilding, access to documents and other business, including imports from China. These will be taken at a future Council.
No votes were taken during the Council.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the importance of science and technology in the Government's White Paper, "Competitiveness : Helping Business to Win."
Mr. Waldegrave : The competitiveness White Paper reaffirms the message of the last year's White Paper, "Realising our Potential", Cm 2250- -that science, engineering and technology make an essential contribution to national competitiveness.
Dr. Moonie : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish his recent letter to chairmen of research councils setting out the inter-relationships between the chief executives and the director general of research councils.
Mr. Waldegrave : I have already done so. On 23 May I sent copies of the letter to the hon. Members for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) and for Cheltenham (Mr. Jones) and to the Chairman of the Science and Technology Select Committee. A copy of the letter has also been placed in the Library of the House.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the number of applications to his Department for projections of future state pension entitlement in the last year for which figures are available and the cost to public funds of this service.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 21 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions asking about the Retirement Pension forecast service.
The Benefits Agency provides centralised services at DSS Longbenton, giving Retirement Pension (RP) forecasts and advice. One is for customers who are currently abroad or going to live abroad and is run by the Agency's Overseas Benefits Directorate. During the year ended March 1994, applications for forecasts totalling 26,142 were made to this service.
The main RP forecasting service, which is part of the Agency's Newcastle Pensions Directorate, serves customers living in the UK. In the year ended March 1994 this service received 476,339 applications for pension forecasts.
The combined running costs for these services are in the region of £1.5 million.
I hope you will find this reply helpful.
Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many income support claimants are registered at the Chesterfield, Buxton, Ilkeston, Derby--Beckett street--Derby--London road--and Sutton Benefits Agency offices as at March 1994 ; and how many at each of these were (a) income support claimants signing on as unemployed, (b) pensioners, (c) income support claimants receiving a lone-parent premium, (d) those receiving a disability premium, (e) those receiving a carer's premium and (f) those receiving a severe disability premium.
Mr. Burt : The administration of income support is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available. Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Harry Barnes, dated 21 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for statistics relating to Income Support claims administered by offices within your constituency area.
The complete range of information is not available in the format requested and could only be provided at a disproportionate cost. This is because statistics relating to customers receiving a Carer Premium and or a Severe Disability Premium are only collated on a national basis. The latest information available for those recieving a Carer Premium is available in the Annual Statistical Enquiry (ASE) for May 1992. The latest information for those receiving a Severe Disability Premium is held in the Quarterly Statistical Enquiry (QSE) for August 1993. A copy of both are available in the Library.
Both of the above premiums can be awarded at the same time as other premiums.
Column 185I have attached a table showing pensioner customers, lone parent customers, unemployed customers and the number where the statistical information held on the Income Support Computer System (ISCS) shows that a Disability Premium has been awarded.
Guidance advises that wherever a Disability Premium has been awarded, the statistical symbol should be amended on the ISCS. However, there may be cases where the customer receives a Disability Premium in respect of a partner where this action has not been taken, therefore the figures quoted may be inaccurate.
It should also be noted that the number of customers who receive a Lone Parent Premium may not equate to the number of Lone Parents. This is because the Lone Parent may be entitled to a more beneficial premium.
I have taken Sutton Office to mean Sutton-in-Ashfield.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Office |Type of Income |Support ----------------------------------------------------- Derby (London Road) E |6,326 P |4,178 L |3,440 D |1,214 Derby (Beckett Street) E |7,295 P |5,733 L |2,502 D |1,446 Buxton E |3,086 P |2,549 L |1,203 D |594 Ilkeston E |5,106 P |4,501 L |2,386 D |1,239 E |8,853 P |7,037 L |9,948 D |2,358 Sutton-in-Ashfield E |4,297 P |3,169 L |1,875 D |1,138 E=Unemployed. P=Pensioners. L=Lone Parents. D=Those in receipt of a Disability Premium.
Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement about the cost and benefit to the taxpayer of a recent party for employees of the Child Support Agency in Plymouth.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. David Jamieson, dated 21 June 1994 :
Column 186I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the cost and benefit to the tax payer of a recent lunch that was organised for employees of the Child Support Agency Centre in Plymouth.
The lunch was organised as a local initiative by the Manager of the Child Support Agency Centre in Plymouth, at a cost of £4,800. It replaced the planned opening ceremony for the Centre which was deferred. I am looking further into the circumstances surrounding this occasion.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims have been made in Nottinghamshire for industrial injuries disablement benefit for emphysema and chronic bronchitis ; how many have been successful ; and how many and, on what grounds, have been refused.
Mr. Scott : The administration of industrial injuries disablement benefit is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Paddy Tipping, dated 21 June 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about claims to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) for chronic bronchitis and emphysema Prescribed Disease (D12) in Nottinghamshire. Firstly, I would like to explain that there are two stages to the take on of claims for prescribed disease D12 (known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema), for which industrial injuries disablement benefit has been available since 13 September 1993 for people who have worked for at least 20 years underground in a coal mine. Stage 1 was restricted to claims from people who were aged 70 or over on 13 September 1993 or had an award of higher rate Disability Living Allowance care component or higher rate Attendance Allowance. Stage 1 ended on 28 February 1994 ; stage 2 commenced from 1 March and is open to anybody to claim. All claims are considered for payment from 13 September 1993.
The information is not available in the precise format requested. This is because statistics are maintained by Benefits Agency (BA) Branch Offices and Districts whose boundaries do not correspond exactly with those of counties. I have therefore tabled, in the attached appendix, statistics which relate to the BA Districts of East and West Nottinghamshire and the Mansfield Branch Office which deal mainly with the Nottinghamshire area. It should be noted that these figures will include some people living outside the Nottinghamshire area.
The figures have been obtained from a 100 per cent. count as of 12 June 1994 and may be subject to amendment.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Appendix Claims to industrial injuries disablement benefit for prescribed disease D12 (Chronic bronchitis and emphysema) in the Nottinghamshire area) |Number -------------------------------------------------- Claims being proceeded with |4,452 Successful claims |362 Disallowed on prescription |92 Regulation 22 cases<1> |13 Assessed at 1 to 13 per cent.<2> |1 Not diagnosed |3,261 <1>Where an applicant is already receiving IIDB in respect of PD D1 (pneumoconiosis) and has been assessed at over 50 per cent. disablement with chronic bronchitis and emphysema as a contributory factor. <2>IIDB not payable for assessments under 14 per cent. Notes: 1. The above figures do not include 66 cases where the claim was returned to the customer to claim at the correct time but they have not reclaimed yet. 2. Source 100 per cent. count and subject to amendment.
Mr. Scott : As at 4 April 1992, the latest year for which information is available, the average payment of severe disablement allowance was £37.45. This figure, which is based on the rates of benefit payable from 11 April 1991, represents 13.2 per cent. of national average earnings at April 1991.
One per cent. sample of claimants for Great Britain and New Earnings Survey (Great Britain) April 1991.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the cases and amounts of money recovered by the compensation recovery unit from victims of asbestosis in Scotland since 1989.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) on what date the Christmas bonus for pensioners was introduced ; what was the amount of bonus payable to (a) single pensioners and (b) pensioner couples in its first year ; when it was last increased ; what would be the amount of Christmas bonus payable to pensioners in 1994 if the level of payment had reflected the movement in the retail prices index or the average wage, whichever was the higher ; and if he will make a statement.
(2) if he will increase the Christmas bonus for pensioners in the current year to reflect the movement in retail prices since 1972.
Mr. Hague : The Christmas bonus was first introduced in 1972 at the rate of £10 for single pensioners and £20 for pensioner couples. No Government have increased the bonus since. If the Christmas bonus had been increased in line with the movement in the retail prices index or the average wage, whichever was the higher, the rate at December 1994 would be £101.90. We have no plans to increase the bonus. Sources :
1. The Retail Prices Index (All Items), as published by the Central Statistical Office.
2. Average Earnings Index (Whole Economy, Unadjusted) as published by the Employment Department.
Calculations rounded to nearest 5 pence.
Column 188We are examining the usefulness of personal referees and the procedures for taking references from previous employers. In addition, a study is due to start in July to determine why girocheques, and other instruments of payment, are being issued clerically.
A full investigation of any specific allegations of further internal fraud will be conducted.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many refusals of disability living allowance at review have gone to appeal ; and in how many cases the refusal at the review stage has been overturned on appeal ;
(2) how many refusals of disability living allowance have been taken to review ; and in how many cases the original refusal has been overturned at review ;
(3) to what extent the proportion of successful appeals against refusal of disability living allowance exceeds the proportion of successful appeals against refusal of attendance allowance in the last three years for which it existed.
Mr. Scott : The information is not available in the form requested as the reason for review or appeal is not recorded. Neither is it possible to give comparative figures for disability living allowance and attendance allowance appeals. Prior to 1992, decisions to award or refuse AA were made by a designated medical practitioner on behalf of the AA board, and there was no right of appeal analogous to the present right of appeal to a disability appeal tribunal. The AA board, itself, carried out reviews where requested. An appeal could be made to the social security commissioner, but only on a point of law. Reviews and appeals are not requested solely because of a refusal to award benefit. People already receiving DLA may be dissatisfied with the level or duration of benefit and many reviews are promoted by deterioration in a person's condition.
The available figures relating to reviews and appeals are shown in the tables.
|Number -------------------------------------------------------------------------- All new claims for disability living allowance<1> |1,030,942 Rejected claims for disability living allowance<1> |453,533 All reviews requested within 3 months of the decision on the claim<1> |231,985 Unsuccesful reviews requested within 3 months of the decision on the claim<1> |124,821 Appeals made<2> |38,785 Appeals heard and decided<2> |24,409 Successful appeals<2> |12,996 <1> 6 February 1992 to 31 May 1994. Source is DSS (Analytical Services Division) 100 per cent. count of cases. <2> February 1992 to 17 June 1994. Source is Independent Tribunal Service 100 per cent. count of cases.
Per cent. |Proportion |Proportion of |of reviews |appeals to |successful |Disability appeal |tribunals successful ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attendance allowance 1990 |<3>75 |- Attendance allowance 1991 |<3>72 |- Attendance allowance 1992 |<3>79 |- Disability living allowance |<1>46 |<2>53 <1> 6 February 1992 to 31 May 1994. Source is DSS (Analytical Services Division) 100 per cent. count of cases. <2> February 1992 to 17 June 1994. Source is Independent Tribunal Service 100 per cent. count of cases. <3> 1 April 1993 to 31 March 1994. Source is DSS (Analytical Services Division) 100 per cent. count of cases.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many representations he has received (a) in favour of and (b) against the passage of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill since its Report stage ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : Since commencement of Report stage, we have received a number of representations expressing a range of views including opposition to and support for the passage of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill. A detailed breakdown is not available.
The latest expenditure estimate for 1993-94 is £433 million . Based on a 100 per cent count and subject to amendment. Departmental Report 1994.
Mr. Patten : I have, earlier today, issued a consultative circular on the supply of school places, to which interested parties have been asked to respond by Friday 5 August. The circular emphasises the importance of quality, choice, diversity and cost-effectiveness in the provision of new school places and describes the action being taken to secure that. Principal elements in the circular are : (
(i) the announcement that, in certain circumstances, I may be prepared to approve proposals for new school places despite the absence of a projected shortfall of places in the area, in particular where in my view the proposed new school places would significantly enhance the quality, choice and diversity of education available in that area and where there would be scope, following the approval of new places, for rationalising places at other schools ;
(ii) a description of the new framework for the organisation of schools under the 1993 Act, including the role of the new Funding Agency for Schools ;
(iii) guidance on how promoters might establish new
grant-maintained schools. This new pathway is already attracting considerable interest ;
(iv) an outline of the streamlined process for the removal of surplus places, where practicable, while acknowledging that some may need to be retained to promote parental choice, or to preserve access to schools in rural areas.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give in cash terms, and as a percentage of the United Kingdom average the gross domestic product per capita for (a) each of the new European constituencies in Wales, (b) the average for Wales, (c) the United Kingdom and (d) the European Community.
@ |GDP per head<1>|Percentage of |1991 |United Kingdom |average ---------------------------------------------------------------- Wales |12,452 |84.5 United Kingdom |14,732 |100.0 EUR 12 |14,989 |101.7 <1> Expressed in terms of purchasing power standard units ( purchasing power adjusted ECU). Source: Eurostat
United Kingdom GDP grew faster than GDP in Germany or France in the 1980s-- the best relative performance since 1945. The latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund--April--suggests that the United Kingdom will have the fastest growth among major EC countries in both 1994 and 1995. In 1991, direct taxes, including community charge and social security contributions, on households in the United Kingdom took a lower proportion of personal income than in any other major European country.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many farmers in Wales were entitled to receive sheep premium grants ; how many claims, and what percentage of the total number of entitled farmers, were settled by (a) 30 April, (b) 15 May and (c) 31 May.
|By 30 April|By 15 May |By 31 May ---------------------------------------------------------------- Advance Payment |15,877 |16,064 |16,113 Percentage |91.2 |92.3 |92.6 Final Payment |Nil |Nil |11,443 Percentage |- |- |65.6 As at 8 June 14,422-82.8 per cent.-of final payments had been sent to farmers.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library copies of the annual reports of the NHS trusts in Wales which became operational on 1 April 1992 and 1 April 1993.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will meet representatives of the Rural Wales Forum to discuss their survey of the difficulties faced by village halls ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend has no plans to do so. Financial support to village halls in Wales is available under a number of schemes, including the voluntary youth services, village halls and community centres programme. On 29 March, I announced under this programme a three-year grant package of nearly £700,000 to support 44 local youth and community facilities in Wales costing a total of almost £1.62 million.
Other Welsh Office schemes which can be considered for such support include the strategic development scheme and the social grants scheme operated by the Development Board for Rural Wales.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which local authorities have failed to provide a list of background papers on official reports to their council committees in each of the last five years.
Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the annual budget of the Development Board for Rural Wales ; how the members of the Development Board for Rural Wales are appointed ; and how many jobs have been brought to rural Wales as a result of the work of the development board.
Mr. Redwood : The development board's grant-in-aid provision for 1992-95 is £14.4 million. This, together with receipts from the sale of land and buildings, rents and other income, will enable the board to plan for gross expenditure of £27.3 million on such activities as property and business development, housing, a social programme and its own overheads.
All candidates for appointment to the development board are considered by Ministers on their individual merits. Account is taken of the overall needs of the board and the balance of skills among members. The legislation provides that the board shall consist of between 11 and 13 members, at least five of whom shall be appointed after consultation with local authorities.
Censuses of employment show that in 1991, the number of employees in rural Wales had increased by 11,000 since 1981. This represents employment growth of 18.9 per cent. in rural Wales. Comparative figures for Wales as a whole and for Great Britain are 2.9 per cent. and 1.2 per cent. respectively. Over the same period, employment in the manufacturing sector had increased by 15.6 per cent. in rural Wales.
Column 192DBRW. All Welsh MPs and local authorities have been consulted, together with a number of other interested bodies. Over 80 responses have been received and these are currently being considered. I hope to make my announcement before the summer recess, following consultations with colleagues.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received (a) in favour of the retention of the Development Board for Rural Wales and (b) against the retention of the Development Board for Rural Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 17 June 1994] : On 14 March 1994, I announced my intention of undertaking a review of the future of the DBRW. All Welsh MPs and local authorities were consulted, together with a number of other interested bodies. Some 81 replies have so far been received. A wide variety of opinions has been expressed, with about half the respondents favouring retention of the DBRW.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to introduce new building regulations and amend existing building regulations to promote the development of barrier-free housing in terms of (a) new build and (b) renovated or modernised properties ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : My right hon. Friend, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for the Environment, intends to consult on a range of building regulation provisions which could be applied to the design of new dwellings for the benefit of disabled people. There are no plans to consider the application of such requirements to existing dwellings subject to renovation or modernisation.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how the Welsh Office determined the baseline for the health gain target for Wales relating to the communication skills of people with learning difficulties and disabilities, as set out in the protocol in health gain ; and if he will make a statement.